Wednesday, February 7, 2024

NEW, UPDATE: Kari Lake AMENDS Financial Disclosure Statement To Add Trust; No Indication It's To Protect Assets From Richer

There was plenty of coverage* of the new financial disclosure statement filed with the U.S. Senate by Kari Lake. And that reporting may have prompted Lake to file her (first) AMENDED statement this past weekend.

Instead of owning ZenVideo, LLC as wife and husband, Lake and Jeffrey Halperin (her husband) actually own it - estimated to be worth between $100,000 to $250,000 - as part of their living trust.

The video production company has not earned Lake any income during the past year-plus (per the disclosure statement), and it does not appear that Lake either recently placed it in the trust nor placed it there with the intent to protect the assets from creditors. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer recently filed a defamation lawsuit against Lake regarding her statements about the elections.

The trust appears to be the type of living trust which would not be protected from judgment enforcement. Lake and her husband placed two pieces of real property into the trust in late 2021, and those documents indicate that the trust is revocable and that they are the beneficiaries. People often use such trusts as part of their estate planning.

Those properties appear to be their home and a condominium, both in the Biltmore area. While a personal home is not required to be listed in the Senate's disclosure statements, Lake does list a rental condo that she is receiving rent of between $1,250-4,165 per month. (The disclosure statement does not list it as a trust asset, and that might require a second amendment.)


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Monday, January 15, 2024

BREAKING, STOP THIS STEAL: George Santos Treasurer(?) Hiding Out After Allegedly Embezzling $50,000 From Arizona Congressional Candidate

A one-time Treasurer(?) for fraudster/expelled Congressman George Santos is apparently hiding from law enforcement after being accused of embezzling at least $50,000 from an Arizona Congressional candidate.

Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake), who is currently running to regain a seat in the Arizona Legislature, leveled the charges in a letter filed with the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") on Sunday afternoon.
I hereby formally report a series of unauthorized and illicit financial transactions within the 'Committee to Elect Walt Blackman for Congress,' masterminded by Mr. Thomas Datwyler. In a clear breach of financial protocols and without requisite approvals from our committee, Mr. Datwyler diverted campaign funds into unauthorized external accounts. He established at least one additional account and illicitly reallocated a sum of not less than $50,000 from our General Election fund to an undisclosed location.  

In addition, Mr. Datwyler knowingly issued multiple checks as refunds to general donors from accounts deficient in funds, resulting in the checks being dishonored upon presentation. This malfeasance led to non-payment to our vendors and a cascade of unsettled campaign liabilities. Given my lack of access to these implicated accounts, it is our contention that Mr. Datwyler has embezzled an estimated amount of $50,000.  

Law enforcement agencies have been notified of these infractions. The inability to locate Mr. Datwyler has temporarily hindered our ability to file a complete legal report. Upon determination of his whereabouts, it is our intention to formally lodge a complaint and initiate legal proceedings against Mr. Datwyler for the crime of theft, advocating for maximal prosecutorial action. Concurrently, civil litigation for recovery of damages will be pursued against him. 
Datwyler became Blackman's campaign treasurer shortly after he announced his intent to move from the Arizona State House of Representatives to the U.S. House in early 2021, and remained in the post through his loss in the Republican primary (to Eli Crane).

In addition to a short, disputed stint as the expelled Rep. George Santos' (R-NY) treasurer last year, Datwyler was the financial person for several other Republican candidates in 2022. At least three of them have had to pay fines to the FEC for Datwyler's actions (inactions).

Datwyler has also been active running a Super PAC in Iowa supporting Ron DeSantis's presidential campaign, and this New York Times article outlines a concerning set of connections between several political operatives.

Blackman is asking the FEC to show mercy - to him, not to Datwyler - and to waive any penalties. After raising and spending more than $1.1M, Blackman has approximately $12,000 left in his campaign account. (We cannot know for sure, because none of the required 2023 reports have yet been filed.)

Blackman, who tried to help "Stop the Steal" in 2020, is running in the wide-ranging Legislative District 7, which is currently represented by two Republican Davids, Cook and Marshall.

(Arizona's Politics has attempted to reach Blackman for comment, and will update this article as needed.)


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